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Have a great 2010 driver and don’t join the club!


I wrote this a few years back and sometimes when I review old pieces I’ve wrote I find things I really like and this is one of those, with some minor editing!
Ever noticed how ridiculously easy it is to find people who love to complain in this industry, why is that? Is it just the nature of the beast? Are we all pre programmed is there something in truckers DNA that has us looking to the dark side of everything we see first, I don’t think so? I think that as is usually the case most whiners believe in the squeaky wheel gets the grease theory. It’s probably a fairly reasonable guess that 20% of drivers do 80% of the winning and they will continue their rant until you join their club. Whiners need validation by consensus and will be relentless in their victim stories until they get agreement from those around them, don’t let it happen, this is one club you don’t need to belong to.
Trucking has been very good for the last couple of Haight generations and I know there are many of you who feel the same way with your own families. I have no reason to complain and am always conscience when I have felt to close to one of these types that I don’t allow myself to get caught up in their negative world. Would I change some of the things I’ve done, of coarse wouldn’t we all, one thing I’ve learned is that regret for the past is a waste of spirit and over my time the good stuff has far outweighed the bad.
When you think of what’s at the core of what we do, it’s really very honorable, we keep North America functioning. The old warn out slogan still stands tall “If You Got It A Truck Brought It” is as true today as it ever was that’s why its never been replaced I guess. (By the way Bill MacKinnon takes credit for creating this saying and I have no reason to doubt him.) We keep everything in tune and functioning like a well-oiled machine and we do it well, very well. This is an honorable profession and I believe that more so now than at any other time in my lifetime.
So here’s the common rant, no money in this game, no respect from the public or the shippers. My company takes advantage of its drivers, no one is fair to us it all sucks, right? Wha Wha Wha, etc, etc!
So why keep on trucking? Try this on; in what other profession would you get the opportunity first hand to see what’s happening in all corners of the country without getting bogged down in its minutia. I remember many times creeping through towns at 4 am and wondering if I was seeing more of what the local’s surroundings than most of the citizens do in their 9 to 5 existences.
I always felt a little sorry for that person who was stuck on the dock riding a tow motor for eight hours a day loading and unloading trailers to destinations they would never see; now there’s a trap. Was I envious that they got to go home every night to their family’s or go out after work for a few drinks with their buddies? Yes for the drinks and being home piece but defiantly not for being glued to a tow motor all day. I drove away from those docks thinking that an hour or two at that place was plenty for me, I couldn’t imagine 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 30 plus years, please! Not this cowboy.
Those people will never experience those golden moments that came along once in awhile for most drivers. I’ve had more than a few one I remember was when I was on my way to Sacramento I was quite young at the time and had been trucking for a couple 3 years. I was in Nevada on I-80 when I woke up before dawn; I had an egg, got cleaned up and was down the road before the sun broke through. For the next hour I was as close to perfection as driver can imagine. I came off a high plane and could see the road straight ahead of me for miles not a car or another truck in sight. My drivers side window was down with my arm hanging out the temperature was perfect as a bright red sun broke through the morning over my shoulder onto the road and the rock cut around me. I had a soft country tune playing on the stereo that still let me hear the rhythmic sound of the engine as it powered me effortlessly through the desert and all was right with the world.
This is one of a many memories that stand out for me in my 10 years driving, memories that people in other jobs won’t come close to and I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I also recall 33 years ago loading out of London Ontario headed to Texas when I saw a pretty little girl on a tow motor sliding skids onto a trailer. I was preoccupied all the way to Texas and back and finally worked up the nerve to ask her out. My wife Connie and I celebrated 33 years of marriage in 2009. The moral is, keep your eyes wide-open driver you never know what you might find on the dock and some of its pretty dam good.
Here’s my advice, don’t fall into the victim trap that many drivers like to rant about, the world isn’t out to get you unless the paranoia driven drivel of a few is what you are focusing on. This is a great industry full of fantastic people and I am fortunate to be able to call many of them my friends.
Times are tough right now, no doubt but life is what you make of it no matter what you direction to go in, focus on what’s good and not what might go wrong from time to time. Believe me if you do you will be able to draw on those golden memories forever, I hope you have a have a great 2010.
Take Good Care
&
Safe Trucking
RJH


Ray Haight

Ray Haight

Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.
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17 Comments » for Have a great 2010 driver and don’t join the club!
  1. Hans Jansen--Laidlaw Flatbed/ O/O says:

    I know some guys like that but when I tell them stories like yours they usually agree. I would like to print your piece( with permission) to post at work, to remind how good they have it.

  2. Ray Haight says:

    Please feel free to to print Hans, glad you see some value in it’s content.
    Thanks
    Ray

  3. Harry Rudolfs says:

    I recall closing my barn doors at a GM stamping plant in Oshawa one hot summer afternoon. This had to be 20 years ago but I remember it vividly. Three guys in coverall were sitting on the curb eating their lunch. One fellow looked up and said, “I would do anything to trade you jobs right now!” I knew exactly what he meant. He had to go back into the noisy plant to work at some repetitive, menial task (albeit for much better coin than what I was making) but I was getting into a chariot and heading off into the great unknown. Trucking can be repetitive, too, but hands down it beats working in an office environment or a stamping plant for that matter.

  4. Gary Crudge---Kenworth Truck Centres says:

    Ray: Well said. If we could all listen to what you are saying, “don’t fall into the victim trap”. It makes no difference if your a driver, a salesman, a shipper or any job you do. Remember the postive experiences we have all had and don t be afraid to remind ourselfs about these great days we have experienced in our industry. Positive attitudes change everything. Great job Ray well said. Have a great 2010

  5. Ray Haight says:

    Perfect Harry, thanks for the short story…. Well not quite perfect, it would be perfect with more money, oh the deals we make!
    Rjh

  6. meslippery says:

    I know from what you speak Harry I too delivered to Gm Oshawa, GM Scarboro.
    But as long as they got raises we did too.Not as much but in the right direction.
    There is a reason we got into trucking. we love to drive, we love to explore.
    It was Good.Now pay has stagnated over regulated over whatched. It will soon be an assembly
    line job, but you cannot drive home to come back the next day for you will be to far away.
    R I P good old days of trucking.
    meslippery

  7. meslippery says:

    Reminiscence
    Yeah Ray I love the old days too. Thats why I got into trucking.
    Ok we have not had a raise in 20 years but what did we do to deserve
    Speed limiters and EOBRS. I think you would not want to sign up under these terms.
    Dose it all feel right to you?
    To me its like a funeral.
    You will be paid like a 1985 factory worker but you can not go home thanks to EOBRS.
    meslippery

  8. Dale Bishop says:

    Well i see most of the postings above are from non-drivers.I personally have a problem with being continually ripped off by companies that try to increase their bottom line on the backs of their employees.I’ve seen it and experienced it many times.You can sit back with rose coloured glasses if you wish,but if you think there is no problem in this industry with the way transportation employee’s are treated, at the dock,by all the government agencies,by the trucking co’s themselves,then how do you explain all the whining about driver retention that i witness in just about every trucking magazine i read.Drivers are voting with their feet on the way this industry is run.
    I see the TEAMSTERS have started a drive to unionize Challenger,if they are successful that will be the biggest wake up call in this industry in decades.I read in a US trucking magazine that the head of one of their activist groups [her name escapes me] said that the truck drivers are treated like sweat shop labour.I couldn’t agree with her more.I still enjoy my job,i have been lucky to finally have found a company that treats it’s employee’s good and i don’t have to worry if my paycheck is accurate,but it’s been a long haul.In closing i’d just like to say that your driver’s are your most important resource,if you abuse them you will never know just how successful your company could have been.

  9. David Robson says:

    Every driver has a different reason for getting into the business. Mine was money$$$. After 20 years of retail and public service jobs I wanted something less stressful and better pay. I was already putting in 50-60 hours a week for $13.00/hr.
    I couldn’t believe the pay I was making just for driving around all day. I was making 2 1/2 times the wage of my 9-5 job. Then I learned the pushy, backstabbing and abuse this industry dishes out to the drivers. I was about to quit after 3 years when I decided to create my own working environment.
    “Rush” meant drive all day and stop for dinner and my 6 hours sleep. “Hot” meant the customer will want the load more when I do arrive safely. “Do it or else” meant it was time to look for a better company. Once I made my own rules of conduct things started to get easier and a more delightful career. Once I knew my limitations I could train my dispatch to work within them. Once I learned all the deficiencies of the industry I could compensate and work with it. Now I can enjoy my job without the fear and tension I had for the first three years.
    I agree that we are being politically restricted of our freedom to do our jobs efficiently. The nature and the rules of the industry are at constant battle with each other. All the more reason for the driver to create his own workable environment and stand by it.
    I stopped complaining and started acting by changing what I had control of, myself. I believe if every driver created his own workable environment to become as efficient as possible, the companies would have no alternative but to treat us as professionals.
    Good luck and make 2010 the start of a better decade.

  10. Fred Arnold says:

    Hi Ray…How are you …It’s been a long time.Well I thought I would throw my 2 cents worth in.I agree with some of your comments,but you have not been in the driver seat for some time now……boy things have changed…I think the biggest complain (whinning) out there has to be with U.S.A customs…everyone is a criminal,no matter how many times you cross the border you are hasseled about something,if you open your mouth you are sent to xray or searched.I have been doing this a long time and now I want to be home with my family at nights,and of course NO MORE Border Crossing..but do you think I can find a day job as an Az driver out of London…99% of the jobs are in Miss. or Brampton ont.(toronto)…all U.S.A & never home…The new drivers getting into this business have know Idea what they are getting into…the old days are gone …trucking was fun back then.Oh well enough said….Take Care ……Fred Arnold

  11. meslippery says:

    David Robson. From $13.00 2 1/2 times is $32.50
    Where is this job?
    meslippery

  12. meslippery says:

    Yes Fred it was fun, and we got to see it.
    We known how it could be again and thats why
    we are dangerous telling new recruits it was
    something wonderful, something to be proud of.
    R I P good old days of Trucking
    meslippery

  13. Ray Haight says:

    Hey Fred, how you doing, it’s been a few years, see your still trucking, it was 30 years ago when I took you in a truck for the first time, to Texas wasn’t it? Remember that rest area we stopped in to switch in the middle of the night and you thought those girls really just wanted to party, I laughed my butt off?
    Thanks for the comments, 9/11 changed it all didn’t it, it has been a long time since I drove truck I know the congestion has gotten ridiculous and the borders are plugged, if I had to do it over again I still think I would, this is still the best industry in the world. Man I have been able to see things and meet people feed and clothe my family; I’d do it all over again as long as I didn’t have to continually hear the whining from some so called drivers. Do you read some of the crap people put in these Blogs Freddy?
    Life is what you make of it always has been always will be, is this industry suffering right now, no kidding name me one that isn’t. See something you don’t like fix it, can’t fix it, ask yourself if you can live with it, can’t live with it move on. To continually whine is childish and boring and a total waste of energy, everyone is going to complain from time to time, myself included, but to carry on and on with this sky is falling in crap, I don’t get it.
    Hey Freddy, shoot me an email on the side I might be able to point you in the direction of something out of London that will work for you. Take good care man, safe trucking.
    Rjh

  14. Ray Haight says:

    Hey Gary, how have you been man, remember that all you can eat Chinese buffet we used to raid on a regular basis off Wellington Road, those were good eats, hard to beleive that was 25 plus years ago man. Thanks for the comments and kind words,we should get together some time and get caught up.
    Take good care!
    Rjh

  15. meslippery says:

    Think back to when you where driving Ray.
    You never adjusted your log,to make things work. Never exceeded 105 just to pass.If so you are rare in the
    industry. I did those things and 1998 recieved a
    10 year safe driving award from a very large carrier,
    and had and still do have a clean drivers abstract.
    I just dont see the need to micro manage professional
    drivers. I suspect that when you drove you where not
    micro managed. Thus you have fond memories.
    Me too.
    meslippery

  16. MT Miles says:

    The biggest issue in the industry is not drivers compalining or waiting time nor is it the borders we cross. If we all got paid and charged correctly for these additional services, we would be fine. These are not obstacles and the world has changed indeed, but all we need to do is apply the correct mathematics and charge accordingly.
    The biggest concern on my mind is when carriers continue to go after business without any thought to costs involved simply out of desperation. The incumbents know best what it truly costs to do the job since they are doing it already. These days people cut their own rates when they cannot sustain the current rates. How do you survive? I would bet that 95% of the carriers out there today could not tell you what their cost to maintain a reefer unit vs. a dry van is yet they price it based on what their competition is doing it for. If you have ever worked for the retail giants that have continued to squeeze the suppliers, you know what I mean by this. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard clients say to me that “abc trucking is doing the load cheaper”. My answer is then why are you not using them and save that money?
    Once carriers decide to start making money (I mean more than 5%) and stop working for 3PL (load brokers) we will be better for it. Remember, there are no empty miles, only unpaid miles. personally, I am embarrassed to see what we are doing to each other as competetors in the name of survival. You are better off making 10% on 100 trucks than if you made 5% on 200 trucks. If you have been in this industry more than a day, then you know what I mean. I hope that you all will work up the nerve to start running your businesses to make a profit and simply survive. Last I checked, running to NJ from Toronto in either direction thecosts are identical since the miles are the same and tolls etc. So why do we do the loads from NJ back to Toronto at 50% of what we charge to go down. Please don’t say balancing trucks or that head-haul vs. back-haul crap…I have been in this business over 20 years and I understand it. We need to create demand, by adding capacity through excessive growth creates less margin. Taking less freight for more money is the way to go and its the only way you will see reults.
    Safe and profitable trucking to all.

  17. David Robson says:

    David Robson. From $13.00 2 1/2 times is $32.50
    Where is this job?
    meslippery
    That’s correct. $1300.00 gross a week would be $32.50 a week if I worked 40 hours. Unfortunately since we work 100 hours a week I guess I should have said I still make $13.00 for every hour I spend away from home. Technical error, I apologize.

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